I recieved a letter from I.C. Systems on 1/20/09 for payment to a doctor for a surgery I underwent. The debt is legitimate but due to over 10K worth of surgery bills, I am slowly trying to pay them all off. This is my first time dealing with a collections agency so I really didn't know what to expect when I called. I called I.C. on 1/21/09 and gave the agent my account number so she pulled up my account information. She said you owe Dr. XX $1114.25 so how will you be paying that, by credit card or check.
I said that is why I am calling, I can not afford to pay this full amount. She proceeds to raise her voice to me to tell me that its not a matter of being able to afford the debt because you have already taken the services. Now how will you be paying for it tonight? I said no, I can not afford to make this payment, I am up to my neck in debt from this 1 surgery. Again she stressed that I have already taken the services and I should have thought about that before I took the services, now I must pay for the services that I have taken.
she asks me don't you work? I said yes and she said well then use your paycheck to pay this bill. I said I work so that I can eat and live in a house and still only barely get by. she said well won't you be recieving a tax refund? I said yes but it will not nearly be close to this amount. she said well I don't know what you are going to do but you need to come up with this money now. She then tells me to take out a loan from my family or a bank...she said I dont care what you do, just get this loan paid now!
I said look I have already exhausted all of my resources for borrowing money, I am on payment plans left and right to pay my other medical bills. She said that is not my problem that I should have thought about that before I took the services, she said I knew that this service would cost me money and I should have been prepared to pay the price. I informed her that actually No I did not know that this bill was going to be this size, my insurance recently took back $2000 that they had already paid towards my surgery bills due to a lack in proper referal paperwork. She said well this bill is 7 months old and you should have paid it.
I said no ma'am this bill is not that old, the services were in June and I didn't recieve my first bill until late august. She said look I am not going to talk in circles with you, i am going to tell the company to send this bill to your credit report as not being paid and to arbitration and a lawyer will be contacting you. I was like WHAT? WHY? I am just trying to understand what is going on here, trying to get you to explain to me how this works. Can I be on a payment plan. she said ok, you will pay X amount per month, I said I can not afford that payment, I can afford only $50 a month. She said that doesn't work for her and she threatens me again to put this on my credit report. I said I am sorry but that is all I can afford. She agrees and said that I will be on a 6 month payment plan if I pay the first installment right now.
I said ok so in 6 months, what happens? she said you can renegotiate the payment plan but meanwhile, come up with the remaining balance. I said I can assure you now that I will not be able to increase my payments at that time due to all my other payment plans. by this time I was sooo appalled at the way that this woman was speaking to me that I nearly laughed out pure shock. She said I am tired of talking to you about this, I am sending this to your credit report now. YOU OBVIOUSLY THINK THIS IS A JOKE AND YOU ARE LAUGHING ABOUT IT! I said if I didn't want to resolve this I would not have called, I am just so shocked at how you are treating me and how mean you are.
I told her I was getting my debit card out and she said that she can't take credit cards but I can pay with one on the website but you have to make a payment right now in order to be on the payment plan. I said ok, how do I do that? She said with a check, oh by the way that will cost $12 for processing over the phone. I said $12?!?! so I can only set up a payment plan with a check and you will automatically charge me an extra $12 per month per payment? basically paying more money was my only option bc she was threatening to take further action on the account. So I allowed her to take my check information over the phone and made my $50 payment plus the $12 fee. She processed the payment and tried to end the call but I had a few more questions. I said ok so in 6 months I will call back and renegotiate another payment plan and as long as I am on time with my payments, this will not go on my credit report?
she said NO this is going on ur credit report at the end of February unless you pay the full amount by then. I was like wait you said I was on a payment plan, what is the point of the payment plan if I am still going to suffer the consequences of a credit report hit. she said because you took the services and you owe someone money, thats why. I was like so I pay the full amount AND I ruin my credit?! what sense does that make? why would I pay then? she raised her voice and told me that I took a service and I better pay for it. I said well you said that a payment plan would freeze the account but nothing is really happening. in fact, she said that it would buy me more time to come up with the money when in reality, I have all the time in the world to pay it off bc it will be on my credit report regardless. once she started yelling I even asked her aren't these conversations being recorded? I was sooo appalled that she had not explained this to me. she took complete advantage of me.
if I hadn't have asked every question and pressed her for more information, i would have been making my $50 payments every month thinking that I was saving my near perfect credit score when in fact, it would have already been destroyed. I hung up the phone with her in tears because she was the rudest cruelest person I have ever spoken to. my boyfriend insisted that I call back and speak to a manager but I assumed that all collectors would be the same way: coniving, threatening, rude, condescending, ruthless people. I gathered myself and called back and got another lady named Patsy. I asked her if she could please tell me whom I was just speaking with, was there a record of who took my payment? she said no, they only use #s to identify themselves not names and she was brand new so she wasn't familiar with everyone's number/names yet. I said ok well and explained to her what happened. I said I just need further information bc the lady I just spoke to made it very difficult to understand due to her yelling and threats.
Patsy confirmed that if I don't pay the entire amount by the end of February, this will go on my credit report and all that payment plans do is stop the harrassing phone calls. I asked if I could offer less money and pay in bulk instead of many small payments over a long period of time. she said that the paperwork does not say that I can't make an offer so it can't hurt. I said $700 thinking that it was such a large amount that it would not be turned down. Patsy even suggested me calling the doctor to work out the payments with him instead. She entered in the offer and said that the original lady would be calling me soon to let me know what the outcome was. its 2-9 and I still have not heard from them.
I called 888-735-8029, the number on the letter, and I got a voicemail that said that the number I am trying to reach isn't in service but I will recieve a text message shortly to tell me the new number. Sure enough, I recieve a text message that says
Reply Y now for connection info on the # you have dialed. Locator Svc $9.99/month+std msg fees for 20 lookups/month www.sms181.com STOP 2 end Reply Y now!
this made me think that maybe this place is a ripoff so I googled the company and found their website which only says that I should call th number on the letter I recieved. even though their number has changed, of course the online payment service is still running. I decided to read reviews on this company to see if it is a scam. I hope that this so called Family Owned business is shut down or at least repremanded for their horrible business tactics. Agents who lie, threaten, mislead and yell at customers should not be tolerated or allowed. I wish that I would have gotten the name of that lady but judging by the other complaints I have read, complaints to management would be a waste of time bc the entire company has shady practices.